February 2009
Vol 6 No 2

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Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.6 No.2 February 2009

Cover Story by Alfie Kohn
Why Self-Discipline Is Overrated: The (Troubling) Theory and Practice of Control from Within
To inquire into what underlies the idea of self-discipline is to uncover serious misconceptions about motivation and personality, controversial assumptions about human nature, and disturbing implications regarding how things are arranged in a classroom or a society.

Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching
To Be an Effective Teacher
Simply Copy and Paste

»Do You Have a Student Teacher?Hal Portner
»Test-taking Skills Made EasySue Gruber
»Teaching Children Refusal SkillsLeah Davies
»How to Be ConsistentMarvin Marshall
»The Busy Educator's Monthly FiveMarjan Glavac
»Dear Barbara - Advice for SubsBarbara Pressman
»What Side of the Box are YOU On?Kioni Carter
»Global Travel GuruJosette Bonafino

»Teacher Study Groups: Taking the “Risk” out of “At-Risk”Bill Page
»Can Anyone Learn to Draw?Tim Newlin
»The Heart of Mathematical ThinkingLaura Candler
»Finding Free Art Materials in Your CommunityMarilyn J. Brackney
»The Downside of Good Test ScoresAlan Haskvitz
»February 2009 Writing PromptsJames Wayne
»In The Middle School (poem)James Wayne
»Using Photographs To Inspire Writing IVHank Kellner
»Teacher Performance AssessmentPanamalai R. Guruprasad
»How To Help Victims Of Bullying: Advice For Parents & EducatorsKathy Noll
»Unwilling Student Meets Unwavering Teacher Lauren Romano
»Notes from The JungleJohn Price
»Lead the Class - Teachers as Leaders John Sweeting
»Opposing Views of a Post-Racial SocietyRoland Laird
»Who Really Needs Four Years of Math and Science? Steve A. Davidson

»Apple Seeds: Inspiring QuotesBarb Stutesman
»Today Is... Daily CommemorationRon Victoria
»The Lighter Side of Teaching
»Teacher Blogs Showcase
»Carol Goodrow’s “Healthy-Ever-After” Children’s Books
»Printable Worksheets & Teaching Aids
»Memo to the New Secretary of Education and
John Stossel: American students are NOT stupid
»Lessons, Resources and Theme Activities: February 2009
»All of the Presidents in Under 2 Minutes!, Needle Sized Art, I Am a Teacher!, How It’s Made: Copy paper, and If My Nose Was Runnin’ Money
»Live on Teachers.Net: February 2009
»T-Netters Share Favorite Recipes
»Technology in the Art Classroom
»Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers


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published by the Teachers.Net community
Editor in Chief: Kathleen Alape Carpenter
Layout Editor: Mary Miehl

Cover Story by Alfie Kohn

Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong

Contributors this month: Alfie Kohn, Sue Gruber, Kioni Carter, Marvin Marshall, , Marjan Glavac, , Hal Portner, Leah Davies, Barbara Pressman, Tim Newlin, Bill Page, James Wayne, Hank Kellner, Josette Bonafino, Marilyn J. Brackney, Barb Stutesman, Ron Victoria, Panamalai R. Guruprasad, Alan Haskvitz, Kathy Noll, Lauren Romano, John Price, John Sweeting, Laura Candler, Roland Laird, Steve A. Davidson, and YENDOR.

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James Wayne

Writing Prompts
Archive | Biography | Resources | Discussion

A Month of Writing Prompts
by James Wayne

Continued from page 1
February 1, 2009

February 8:
In 1693, King William and Queen Mary of Britain gave a charter for a new college in the colony of Virginia. The Virginians named it the College of William and Mary, and it is the second oldest college in the United States. William and Mary is an unusual name for a college. Make a list of other things you have heard about or seen that have unusual names.

Businessman Harold Geneen said, "I don't believe in just ordering people to do things. You have to sort of grab an oar and row with them.” What do you think he meant by that?

John Ruskin was born in 1819. He was a writer on art and travel who was the first important critic who pointed out that the value of working to preserve historical buildings. If you could go anywhere in the world to see a famous building, where would you go and what would you see? Why does that building appeal to you?

February is the shortest month. Some people have suggested taking some of the days from the 31 day months (January, March, May, July, August, October, or December) and adding them to February to make the months more uniform in length. Which months would you prefer to have days taken from? Why?

February 9:
In 1797, a group of English sailors were shipwrecked on the coast of Australia, becoming the first Europeans to live there. Suppose you and your classmates were shipwrecked on a new land and had to survive? How would you organize yourself to do the work you need to do?

In 1863, Anthony Hope was born. He was an English writer whose most famous book was The Prisoner of Zenda, about a British soldier that happens to look exactly like a foreign ruler, and the problems this causes him. Suppose you looked exactly like a famous person. What person would you like to look like? What problems might that cause you?

February 10:
In 1933, singing telegrams were introduced. For a fee, you could send a message to anyone in the country, and a person would sing the message to them, making up or borrowing a tune for the message. Make up a silly message or song about something in your school or class, and sing it to your classmates.

Both the Chinese and Muslim New Years occur during this time. Having a lot of holidays very close together can be both fun and confusing, especially if different people are celebrating different things, or on different days. List at least 3 problems this situation might cause in a country with large numbers of Christians, Muslims, and Chinese people, like the USA.

February 11:
After spending 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela was released in 1990. He had been imprisoned for his opposition to the racist policies of the government of South Africa at the time, and later became the first black President of South Africa. After his release, he said, "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have changed.” What do you think he meant by that?

Thomas Edison was born in 1847. He patented more inventions than any other single person in history. His talent was to see situations where an invention could make life better, then to work out a way to make the things he imagined. Imagine an invention that would make your life better. What would it do?

February 12:
In 1637, Jan Swammerdam was born in Holland. He discovered the existence of red blood cells. This was one of the most important discoveries that led to the development of blood transfusions, which has saved many lives. Think of some other discoveries that have made our lives healthier. List 3 of them and tell why they are important.

February 13:
In 2000, the last original Peanuts cartoon strip was printed, the day after the artist who invented it, Charles Schulz, died of cancer. Peanuts tells about the life of young people from their own viewpoint. Which Peanuts character is your favorite? Why do you like that one?

Indians called the full moon of February the Snow Moon, because this is the coldest time of year in most places in the northern hemisphere. What is your favorite activity to do when it snows?

The first public school in America, Boston Latin School, opened in 1635. This school is still in operation. There have been a lot of changes in public schools since 1635. How has school changed since you started going?

February 14:
Valentine's Day! Describe the prettiest Valentine you have ever seen.

Charles Dickens attended a large party in his honor during a visit to New York City. Despite his popularity, his experiences in America gave him a very bad impression of our country and in several of his novels, America is portrayed as a very rough and savage place, with many unfriendly people. If you could, what things could you say to Charles Dickens to show him the friendly, pleasant side of America?

In 1764, a trading post was started that slowly grew into the city of St. Louis, Missouri. It served Indians and European settlers that were traveling on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Make a list of things that people traded in 1764 that we almost never buy or sell today. To get you started, there were no matches, so people used pieces of flint rock to make sparks.

In 1896, Edward, Prince of Wales (he later became King Edward VII) became the first member of the British royal family to ride in a car. In those days, every car was built by hand, very likely to break down a lot, and many times more expensive than they are today. Suppose no way to build cheaper, more reliable cars had ever been found? How would your life be different if only very rich people had cars?

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About James Wayne...

James Wayne has taught third grade and every grade from fifth to twelfth during a full-time career of 34 years, either in regular classrooms or in AG or AP classes. He began his writing prompts as a way to help teachers improve writing scores in his district. A native of North Carolina, James is a graduate of Duke University and a Vietnam Veteran, having served with the 101st Airborne Division. He continues to work part time for Onslow County Schools as a coordinator of the Academic Derby, a televised scholastic competition serving elementary, middle, and high schools. James resides in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

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